As the Entrepreneur in Residence for Varkain, I feel very fortunate to be a part of an amazing, up-and-coming venture fund in Las Vegas, NV. We’re not known for our tech companies or tech entrepreneurship, but we hope to change that. General Partner Laurie Hinckley is controlled-aggressiveness personified and I mean that with the utmost respect. If you asked any of our partner companies, they would tell you that Varkain doesn’t waste time when it comes to money and we never waste an entrepreneur’s time, which might be more important.
When I travel to other markets (Utah, SoCal, Denver, New York, Boston, Austin) to raise money or pitch it becomes increasingly more obvious to me how different Varkain really is. When I meet with entrepreneurs at various accelerators or when they come to town, I am always told how much they appreciate Varkain’s direct approach and wish we weren’t hiding in Las Vegas.
I think Varkain’s short-term success can be attributed to its infancy and good fortune avoiding bad habits or predisposition to how things are “normally” done. It can also be attributed to Laurie’s great analytical mind and her willingness to dive deep into companies and industries. Varkain also has a great network developed over the past four years and willing mentors who have assisted us along the way. Being from Vegas, we don’t see much local deal flow, but we do get introduced to great companies from a trusted network and that likely has something to do with our success. But ultimately, nobody forces Varkain to cut checks and it’s on our head to pull the trigger, so to speak. We also benefit because we don’t have quotas or LPs to please. Being independent clearly, has its perks.
Varkain has big plans for the future. I’m not sure how long I’ll be involved as JRNL grows, but Varkain’s goals are mighty and the people working behind the scenes are even bolder. We hope to bring great tech to Vegas and we expect to make it a place where entrepreneurs with great ideas seeking to change the world come to be lifted up and get a real shot.